Archive for the ‘Buttons’ Category

Antelope Horns: The Final Lap

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

The last post about the Antelope Horns wall hanging ended with me sewing the patches to a foundation cloth. Here’s how they looked, compared to the photo, once I finally finished the foundation piecing.

Antelope Horns wall hanging

Next step: quilting with a regular presser foot, because I can control the stitching better.

Antelope Horns wall hanging

Now for my favorite part: embellishing. First, I outlined all the petals with a widely-spaced buttonhole stitch.

Antelope Horns wall hanging

For each flower, I crocheted five water-drop shapes. I laid them on the photo, to see how long the five stems needed to be, and how to attach them to a crocheted white center.

In the photo below, three of the flowers already have violet centers attached, but one shows the provisional white center. Though you can’t see it in the finished wall hanging, the white center adds dimension to the piece by lifting the violet centers a little higher than the horns.

Antelope Horns wall hanging

By laying out the horns on the photo, I could figure out how to finish the end of each horn, by crocheting taller or shorter stitches in the second round of stitching. Some of the horns are seen from the side, so their final row is different from the horns we see straight-on.

Antelope Horns wall hanging

I embroidered the purple stripes along the sides of the horns, which partially appliqued the horns in place. The dark violet center had lots of cream and light green embroidery. I sewed fuzzy five-petal flowerets to the centers before appliqueing them over the provisional white centers.

The button phase of any wall hanging is the best part of embellishing. I poured the buttons from our big jar, gleefully sorted through them, and chose 14 or 15 excellent candidates. I arranged them on the wall hanging and…oh. They didn’t look good. Aw, man!

Every button in the leafy section stood out like a sore thumb. The colors matched well. I even matched light swirls in dark buttons with the appliqued netting in the background. But they stood proud and a little too shiny. They distracted from the flowers.

In the flower half of the wall hanging, I managed to place four buttons. Their height matches the height of the applique, so they blend in better. After sewing on the buttons and attaching the hanging sleeve, the wall hanging was done.

Antelope Horns wall hanging

Hurray! On to the next project.

Throwback Thursday—Eva’s Button Cloth

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

We played with polymer clay a lot in the late 1990s. It was a great way to pass the time during the frequent rainy, gloomy days in Sheffield.

The compelling thing about polymer clay is that after you model a project, you cure it in the oven at a fairly low temperature to make it permanent. The colors stay true, it stays the same size. You get what you make. I wish every kid (and lots of adults) could experience the joy of it.

During these times, I designed polymer clay projects for magazine articles and for my first book. I made lots of buttons, so four or five-year-old Eva did, too. She used the different tools and cutters, and sometimes repurposed my millefiori off-cuts. I made this cloth to showcase her buttons, and it hung on her wall for years.

Two things stand out in my memory of those days. As we worked one day, Eva asked, “Mama, what if I become better at this than you are?”

And the other was when she finished the large button in this detail picture. It has nine or ten sew-through holes. “Mama, it’s going to take you a long time to sew on this button, because it has so many holes.”

Four Flowers a Day

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Crocheted Firewheel Wall Hanging

The Firewheel Meadows quilt is due at the 2014 Threads of Texas Quilt Show on October 1. So far, I’m making steady progress toward the finish line by appliqueing four flowers a day onto the quilt. See the flowers at the left of the picture, with the petals curling up slightly? Those are the ones I sewed today.

At four a day, I’ll finish with the flowers on September 16, which gives me plenty of time to do more embellishment, sew on the label, and finish the hanging sleeve. AND finish two other projects by the end of September!

Oh, but some days it’s difficult to sit down and sew four flowers. I’d rather be doing something else, like reading stuff on the internet or sneaking a game of 2048 on my daughter’s iPad.

The process is character-building. Yes, that’s what it is.

Memories Monday–Recycled Sweater Vest

Monday, September 1st, 2014

TextileFusion vest made from recycled sweater

I placed a darkly colorful man’s sweater on the thrift-shop counter. The cashier looked at me apprehensively. “Do you realize this sweater is 100 percent wool?” she asked.

Yes, I did. That’s why I bought it! Frankly I was amazed that such a wonderful sweater was still on the shelf, but apparently the wool content wasn’t as attractive to other people. The price was right, too—about five dollars.

Wool is perfect for TextileFusion projects. It takes heat well, which is important because I stabilize the knitted fabrics with fusible interfacing. Since wool threads tend to cling to each other, wool is good for cutting into pieces.

For this vest, I cut the facings and hems off of a commercial sewing pattern, and used it to cut vest pieces from the sweater. I stabilized with fusible interfacing and machine stitching. My current favorite mother-of-pearl buttons were perfectly subtle embellishment for the vest. I added other buttons and trims, too.

Firewheels and Buttons

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

Oh, those challenging firewheel centers! The dark, bloomed-out flowerets are around the outside of the center, while the yellow, currently-blooming flowerets are toward the center of the center. Clearly this calls for homemade buttons!

Making polymer clay buttons

Luckily, I had company in this button-making adventure. Ella and I gathered materials and got to work. She researched polymer techniques in the classic text Polymer Clay for Everyone, by her mom. Woo hoo!

Ella made a jellyroll cane with turquoise and pearl, and wrapped it in purple. Slicing the cane is the most exciting part! We both love how it reveals the design inside the cane.

“What are you going to do with those pretty buttons, Ella?”

“I’m going to put them in the button jar until I find a good project to use them for,” she said.

Like mother, like daughter!

Ella's handmade jellyroll button slices

My buttons were a little different. I made a Skinner Blend, a very clever technique which shades two or more colors into each other. You start with two colors of clay fitted together diagonally like this:

Skinner blend buttons

*Fold the piece in half as shown in the picture, and run it through the pasta machine.*

Skinner blend buttons

Repeat between *s until the blend is even.

Skinner blend buttons

Skinner blend buttons

Skinner blend buttons

I rolled the resulting blend starting at the yellow end. This made a cane of clay that shaded from yellow on the inside to burgundy on the outside. Thinking the buttons needed an even darker border, I blended some burgundy with black and wrapped it around the cane.

Handmade buttons for crocheted Firewheel, Indian Blanket, Gaillardia flowers

The button centers look good! The best part—I cut buttons for the large flowers, then reduced the cane and cut button slices for the medium-sized flowers, then reduced it some more and cut button slices for the small flowers!

Ella and I used the scraps to make miracle beads and scrappy buttons.

“What are you going to do with all those scrappy buttons, Mom?”

“I’m going to put them in the button jar until I find a good project to use them for,” I said.

Like daughter, like mother!

Sign Up Now for Taos Wool Festival Workshops in October

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Polymer clay buttons

The Taos Wool Festival is always the first full weekend of October, with workshops starting a couple of days ahead. This is a great time to be in the mountains of New Mexico. The autumn colors and crisp weather are just wonderful.

This year I’m offering three classes at Taos:

Polymer Clay Button Boutique, all day Friday, October 3. You’ll go home with lots of colorful, pretty buttons, ready to use. They’re machine washable and dryable. Beginners are welcome!

The buttons in the photo above are Swirl Buttons, which we’ll make in class. You can match your Swirl Buttons to any yarn or fabric.

Mosaic knit fish rug

Knit Mosaic Patterns and Design Your Own, Saturday afternoon, October 4. After this class, you’ll be able to knit any of Barbara Walker’s many mosaic patterns, and you can design your own! Read more about the workshop here.

This fishy rug is from a picture that my daughter Eva drew when she was seven years old. Think of the precious drawings you could capture in knitting after taking this class!

Knit Cables, Bobbles, and Braids workshop

Cables, Bobbles, and Braids, Sunday morning, October 5. You’ll learn how to do these stunning knitting techniques, but more importantly, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of these textural wonders. You’ll go away ready to twist and shout!

Please sign up for classes before September 1, 2014, at www.taoswoolfestival.org/workshops.

This notice is also on my other blog, but with different pictures. Enjoy!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Love Family, by Suzann with motifs from Cute Crochet World

I love family.

Love Home, by Suzann with motifs from Cute Crochet World

I love home.

Pink Heart for Peggy, by Suzann

I love pink.

Gold Heart for Rachel, by Suzann

I love getting together with my quilting friends once a week.

Love Checks, by Suzann with motifs from Crochet Garden

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sonja Knows What to Do With Buttons!

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Felt penny wreath wall hanging

What in the world can a person do with bunches of buttons?

My friend Sonja, who owns the “Two Olde Yoyos” shop on Etsy, knows! She made this wreath wall hanging in the penny-rug style, then added hand-made polymer clay buttons (by me!).

It is so pretty, I bought one for myself. At the moment I write this, there’s one more penny wreath wall hanging at Sonia’s Etsy shop. She also has lots of mini-quilts and more, at very reasonable prices.

The Knit & Crochet Show

“But wait,” you may be saying, “How can I get hold of some hand-made polymer clay buttons?”

You can make some! In fact, there’ still time to sign up for my polymer clay button workshops at The Knit & Crochet Show next month in Reno, Nevada. For more information, please visit this site: http://www.knitandcrochetshow.com/

Valentine’s Day Quilt Finished!

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Valentine’s Day Quilt finished!

On Tuesday evening, at the girls’ piano lesson, I sewed the last button onto my Quilting Ladies’ Group Valentine’s Day Quilt. I tried to sew more buttons on, but when I put them tentatively on the quilt, the quilt said, “Enough already!” Usually, I can find a place to tuck in one more, but all my attempts were rejected.

Valentine’s Day Quilt details

So it was finished! Yay!

This quilt combines old and new and bits and pieces that will remind me of friends and fun times. Like this pretty quilted heart will always make me think of Peggy.

The yellowy flower is a Twirl Center Rose from Crochet Garden.

Valentine’s Day Quilt details

These yellow and white applique daisies are from my mother-in-law’s sewing collection. She was a lovely lady named Mary Eugenia Frederick. She went by ‘Gene,” but we thought Eugenia was a beautiful middle name for our younger daughter.

Rachel made the fabric flower with the red center. Our older daughters like to go adventuring together and talk about music. Gail Hughes made the green buttons that serve as leaves for Rachel’s flower.

Valentine’s Day Quilt details

Three pink heart buttons from Hazel are surrounded by flowers from Crochet Garden: Begonia (lower left), Turkestani Star with a button from Gail Hughes, and Any Color Pinks at the upper right.

Valentine’s Day Quilt details

For Donna’s quilt, she asked us each to sign a piece of fabric, which she incorporated in to her quilt. The spool charm is from Donna.

Valentine’s Day Quilt details

This heart, cut out of an antique quilt, is from Mindy. Both green buttons and the crystal topped button on the heart are by Gail Hughes. Hazel’s buttons are the red heart-shaped ones hidden next to the big heart.

This quilt is full of love!

Polymer Clay Button Cloth

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Suzann’s polymer clay button cloth

Polymer clay buttons are so much fun to make! They’re colorful and pretty. They’re machine-washable and dryable. Button-lover that I am, I have enjoyed making these little beauties since the 1980s. The buttons started accumulating. How could I display all those buttons? A button cloth!

Suzann’s polymer clay button cloth, up close

Since there were so many colors of buttons, I needed a colorful button cloth. Borrowing a color-meandering technique from quilter Jinny Beyer, I arranged the hues of the rainbow in different shades and tints.

Suzann’s polymer clay button cloth, up close

Using the wonderful Ultimate Sweater Machine and yarns from my collection, I knitted blocks of color, alternating with cream and white, and with black and gray at the beginning and end of each strip. I used the join-as-you-knit method to add new strips of color blocks.

After blocking the knitting, I added quilt batting and fabric backing. Then I quilted it and added binding all around.

Suzann’s polymer clay button cloth

Now to sew buttons onto the cloth! It took a long time to work through my backlog of buttons. After that, whenever I made a new button style or color-way, I sewed a sample onto the cloth right away.

It’s such a fun piece to show. I always take it to my button workshops. People are surprised to learn that all the colors are the colors of the clay—no paint!